This presentation from 2010 sets out a phased approach which is massively front loaded – by which I mean most of the costs come in the first phase of c£10.4m . The question I have to ask is why has phase one over the years become the bulk of the project? Looking back at the 2006 proposal two things were considered essential
1) Essential works to the structure and exterior – at c £1.6m – it may be possible to argue with some of the detail of that , but ‘fair enough’ seems a reasonable response
2) External Landscaping (soft and hard) £1,110,000 – now it seems to me that the general populace is getting in and out OK just at present, and that though a bit of sprucing up may be nice in the Square and around the back passage, “essential” is pitching it a bit strong for this work.
One wonders if a long hard look at some of these works, in conjunction with the conservation guardians, English Heritage, might not yield a different perspective?
This document (2009 Exhibitions and Options Presentation) has lots of lovely diagrams and options costing £6m, £8m, £10m and £12m in support of
‘A WORLD-CLASS MODEL OF CIVIC RENAISSANCE, AN ARENA FOR ALL THAT HARNESSES A SPIRIT OF PROGRESS, COMMUNITY, CREATIVITY AND ENTERPRISE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS IN HARINGEY, LONDON AND BEYOND.’
My view is that ‘good enough’ is a very high standard, rarely reached in a great many projects.
This report from Deborah Saunt David Hills Architects sets out a phased approach to the refurbishment of Hornsey Town Hall.
The key things I take from this are that
1) only steps 1 – 3 are essential – the rest is optional
- CONSTRUCTION COSTS (1 – 3 essential)
1. Essential Works to the Town Hall structure and exterior. £1,610,000
2. External Landscaping (soft and hard) £1,110,000
3. Client on costs (30%) £86,000
Sub Total £3,536,000
2) The building is currently just about wiping its nose (?????) without any major works.
Obviously all of this must be challenged in the light of later day thinking and inflation.
In 2004 an advisory panel put some time and effort into producing a report for Haringey council. This group documented its proceedings in this 2004 Future of HTH Advisory Panel Report. The executive summary of this report is reproduced in full below. The report itself is well worth looking at it contains a list of the very extensive community representation that went into its production, and the very good advice they sought from a number of advisory and grant funding bodies, as well as meeting with others who have carried out similar tasks in the past.
Haringey Council has given notice that it intends to relocate its staff from Hornsey Town Hall in 2005. The Council’s Executive Committee considered the future of the building and surrounding site in February 2004, and in response to substantial public concern and interest in the future of the complex, established our panel to advise them on community needs and aspirations.
Through our work we have become aware of the importance of this building for local people, as a geographical centre for Crouch End, as a physical resource, but also as a focus of community feeling, helping to define the particular characteristics of this part of the borough. It is also apparent that HornseyTown Hall is not just a resource
for Hornsey and Crouch End, but for the whole boroughand wider community of north London, and is of national architectural significance.
Over the past eight months, we have worked closely together to arrive at a shared vision for Hornsey Town Hall: a building restored to its former glory as a vibrant and viable centre for Crouch End and the wider community, providing a range of artistic, cultural and educational facilities, with the package underpinned financially by appropriate commercial uses and development. We urge the Executive to adopt this vision.
At the same time, we considered the risks inherent in seeking to achieve this vision:
the constraints imposed by the building itself, and its listed status; the Council’s current and increasing maintenance liability, the finances needed over time for full restoration and adaptations for modern uses.
We welcome the position of the Council as expressed to us; that the site should be dealt with as a whole; that community aspirations should be recognised while taxpayer liabilities are minimised; and that proceeds generated from the site should
be used for restoration. The Executive should confirm this position.
Unsurprisingly, there are a range of views on how our vision for Hornsey Town Hall might be realised: One position argues for the whole project to be taken forward by a charitable trust, separate from the local authority, overseen by trustees; another that a private developer, subject to appropriate safeguards for community interest, would be best placed to drive the development.
The way forward
We considered carefully the risks and benefits of the different approaches. We suggest, as a possible “middle way”; that appropriate commercial and non commercial capital could be harnessed in partnership with the Council and the community in a “tripartite” approach, working together with an appropriate charitable trust, to develop a high quality scheme, and that longer term community interests should be entrusted to such a trust. Our recommendations are set out on page 5.
It is now for the Executive to decide on an appropriate way forward, balancing risks and benefits, and acting in the best interests of the local area, the wider community and the authority.
HTHT_appendices_211204 – this link, to another part of the 2004 business plan, provides some insight into the previous efforts that have been made by the public to keep the Town Hall in public ownership. Much of what was written is now out of date. Letters of support for a defunct company no longer have any value, and plans for a cinema have been overtaken by events elsewhere in Crouch End. But skip to page 44 of the document and you will find:
It is to be hoped that current efforts can build on some of this work.
HTHT_businessplan_211204 – This link will take you to a business plan drawn up c2004 by a group which incorporated itself as the Hornsey Town Hall Charitable Trust. This group went to a lot of trouble to prepare documents and to carry out surveys, and to have estimates drawn up for the refurbishment and future (as it was then) use of Hornsey Town Hall.
Much of the work they did is of high quality, but the group never achieved the sort of working relationship with Haringey that would have been needed to put this plan into action.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned from this previous attempt. This is a link to the Hornsey Town Hall Trust website which also seems to be on the point of becoming defunct.